We dodged a real weather bullet earlier this week, and I for one am thankful

For days ahead of Monday’s storm I watched dire warnings of potential high winds and heavy snow. At one point it looked like Northwest Ohio could see up to 10 inches of snow and wind gusts of 50 miles per hour.

Two low pressure centers, one to our north and one to our south, were expected to combine into one giant storm. It looked like this nasty low would back up and stall for a couple of days over Ohio.

Forecasters stressed, though, that it was too early to predict for sure, and it all depended on the track of the storm.

As it turned out the deep low tracked further east than expected. We ended up with only a light coating of snow, and winds only half as strong as feared. Much of Ohio was not so lucky, though, with places not far east of us getting four to six inches, and some counties along Lake Erie looking at a foot of snow.

Weather has fascinated me since I was a kid. I used to always watch the TV forecasts, and I remember feeling a bit superior to my friends because I had an idea what was coming and would be prepared.

I recall being bundled up and warm while some of my friends froze without hats or gloves, because I knew a cold front was passing while they had no clue. I also knew better than to camp out when a three-day rain was forecast, avoiding a wet and miserable time.

Of course, just like today the forecasts weren’t always right. I never will forget a miserable weekend canoe trip with friends years ago. It was March, and we had been experiencing unseasonable sun and warmth for a week. That trend was expected to continue for a few more days, and that prompted four of us to take off down the Tiffin River in two canoes. Our plan was to camp along the way on Friday and Saturday nights, and arrive near the mouth of the Tiffin at Defiance on Sunday.

Perhaps I should have heeded the warning of a radio forecast Friday morning on the way to our point of debarkation. Instead of pure sun for three days, the weatherman noted there was now a 20 percent chance of rain. I brushed off that bit of news, thinking, “What can a little rain hurt?”

Ominous clouds obliterated the blue skies as we paddled downstream, and a few large raindrops began to splash into the river as we arrived at a suitable camping spot. Those drops became more numerous as we set up our tents, and by the time we tried to start a fire we were being pelted by a cold, drenching rain.

We were able to get a fire started only by using lantern fuel on the soaked wood, and as we cooked supper we had to pour out the water that accumulated in the frying pan. The tent of two of my comrades became so wet during the night’s downpour that I could hear them slosh when they rolled over in their sleeping bags.

To make a long story short, the rain stopped by morning, but as we traveled south a bitter cold wind ushered in snowflakes. The snow began coming down heavier and heavier and and started to accumulate, so we paddled as fast as we could with our freezing hands and made it to our destination that night. By the time the storm was over we had seven inches of snow.

That was nearly 40 years ago. Although weather forecasting has improved since that time, Mother Nature still can be fickle and you never really know what you’re going to get until it’s here.

When it comes to the weather you win some, like dodging the snowstorm this week, you lose some, like my canoe trip, but regardless Mother Nature will always have the last word.

Don Allison is an author, historian and retired editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.fadedbanner.com

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